The British War Office produced a set of training pamphlets during the 1930’s to cover all the weapons that were then in use, including the Rifle (Pamphlet 3), Lewis machine gun (Pamphlet 20), grenades (Pamphlet 13), mortars (Pamphlet 9), and other personnel & support weapons. There are also instructions on application of fire (Pamphlet 2) and range courses (Pamphlet 18) and other subjects included in the SAT Volume 1. These were updated when necessary with new editions being issued and new training pamphlets produced, when new weapons became available to the British Army.
With the purchase of the Thompson submachine gun in 1940, the British War Office issued Pamphlet 21, titled “Thompson Sub-machine-gun” to Volume 1 of the Small Arms training series. To my knowledge, two versions of the 1940 dated manual exists, one printed in 1940 and the second in 1941 with minor changes and both versions in my collection were printed by William Clowes & Sons Ltd.
The 1st issue had six pages, and an additional four pages, each containing one photo of the Thompson, which are wrapped around the pamphlet, like the M1 additions in the 1940 AOC Model of 1928 Handbooks, at the front and rear of the pamphlet.
The 2nd 1941 issue of the 1940 dated Pamphlet also has six pages, but final page is printed on the rear cover, and the additional four pages, with the four same photos as the 1st issue, but this time added to the centre of the pamphlet. The photos in my copies are the same, with the demonstrator wearing a uniform similar to those worn in WW1 with high puttees and flat cap. The distribution list of pamphlets remained the same for both versions, but the card cover is absent from the 2nd version printed in 1941, which has a paper cover, indicating that war time shortages were already making an impact. The 2nd version also includes two separately printed amendments dated 1941.
SAT21 1940 V2.JPG 26.44K 14 downloads SAT21 1940V2 Rear Cover.JPG 34.46K 14 downloads SAT 21 1940 V2 Page 2.JPG 66.99K 14 downloads Sat 21 1940 V2 Photos.JPG 80.04K 15 downloads SAT 21 1940 V2 1941 Annex.JPG 119.51K 13 downloads
Added on the 17.02.18
All three variations of the 1940 edition of SAT 41 in my collection, including the Australian edition, mention in Lesson 1.- Loading and Unloading, the list of stores includes ‘gun chest complete’.
When the British placed their initial orders for Thompson submachine guns in 1940, it was planned these would be distributed as unit weapons, such as Vickers machine guns, Lewis and Bren light machine gun. All unit weapons were stored in a transit chest, as they are nobody's personal responsibility and were issued to whomever ‘signs for them’, from the units armoury, with a set of ancillaries, (magazines, cleaning rod/kit, spares), which were required for the weapons.
In June 1941, the decision was taken that the Thompson would be issued as a personal weapon and therefore the chests were no longer required and this is reflected in Amendment No.2 dated 8th October 1941, as shown above, which amends the list of stores and the ‘gun chest complete’ is removed.
Transit chest enlarged.JPG 21.3K 5 downloads
The same amendment also has a note on the drilling of a hole in the buffer rods, to “enable the use of a nail for replacing the recoil spring”. Indicating the buffer rods in the Model of 1928’s received prior to that date, did not have the hole for aiding stripping of the recoil spring and the reference to the nail would indicate the recoil spring tools had not been introduced in late 1941.
Buffer Hole enlarged.JPG 51.87K 5 downloads
In 1942 a new edition was issued with the title changed to “The Thompson Machine Carbine”, which had a total of 12 pages, including the appendix concerning the attachment of a spotlight projector to the Thompson on pages 11 & 12.
The only magazine mentioned in this edition is the 20 round magazine, there is no mention of the ‘L’ Drum in the 1942 edition, indicating the British forces were or had withdrawn the ‘L’ Drum from service. The photos in the 1940 edition, have been replaced with line drawings in the 1942 edition. The 1942 edition was printed by Keliher, Hudson & Kearns Ltd, as were the 1944 editions version in my collection.
It is interesting to note that the Thompson gun in all line drawings in this edition, does not have a compensator, apart from the final drawing in the appendix showing the fitting of the spotlight projector. Tom Davis Jr. provides details on the Model of 1928s bought by the British without compensators in his book, Great Britain - The Tommy Gun Story.
Added on the 27.05.18 with photos
Another example of the 1942 pamphlet I came across recently is an example of a SAT 21 1942, which had the cover printed in black, not in the usual red and also the printers details were missing from the front cover, something I had not seen before. When it arrived the printers details are actually on the rear cover, "Printed by the Printing and Stationary Service, M.E.F."
From an internet search, I discovered "M.E.F is the acronym for 'Middle East Forces', and the Printing and Stationary Service was based in Cairo, Egypt, so a nice addition to the collection.
In 1942, with the introduction of the Sten SMG, Pamphlet 22 was also issued titled “Sten Machine Carbine”.
Sten Pamphlet 22 1942.JPG 52.91K 14 downloads
Two years later in 1944 saw the introduction of a new edition of Pamphlet 21 titled “The Machine Carbine”. This covered both the Thompson and Sten SMGs in the same pamphlet and also added is an amendment to cover the use of the Thompson M1 So there are additional pages in this version with appendices A through to D.
This edition also returned to using photos, updated from those in the 1940 edition of the pamphlet. I have two copies of this edition, both identical although one was printed in 1944 and one in 1945. The 1945 issue has had numerous amendments added to it, by the user, including an extra page dated August 1946, with Appendices E & F, but all for the Sten gun, not for the Thompson.
In my 1955 reprint of the 1944 edition of Pamphlet 21, there is a total of 29 pages with appendices, A through to F, printed in it.
On the first page of all three versions of the 1944 Edition, there is a photo of a Model of 1928, without a compensator, with the British / Commonwealth sling fitting modification.
Added on the 01.02.19 with photos
Another edition of the 1944 dated pamphlet was printed at the Middle East Forces printing and stationary service based in Cairo, Egypt. The contents are identical to the other 1944 editions in my collection with appendices A through to D.
At the same time the British War Office was issuing Pamphlet 21, other commonwealth countries were issuing their versions. Canada’s mirrored the British editions of Pamphlet 21 in 1940, 1942 and 1944, with only having slight differences on the front covers from the British editions.
Canadian SAT Vol 1 Pam 21 1942.JPG 102.55K 16 downloads Canadian SAT21 1942 P4&5.JPG 67.63K 11 downloads Canadian Sat 21 1944.JPG 46.31K 9 downloads Canadian Sat 21 1944 P1.JPG 79.33K 8 downloads Canadian Sat 21 1944 M1 Appendix.JPG 107.28K 7 downloads
In 1944 they also issued a further bilingual edition of pamphlet 21 and this, as with the previous pamphlets, was printed by Edward Cloutier in Ottawa. The bilingual edition also reproduced all the photographs in the pamphlet twice, one with English and one with French titles under them.
Added on the 01.02.19 with photos
The Canadian English language only edition of the 1944 dated pamphlet, was reprinted in 1945 and again in 1948 according to the example below.
Australia also issued an edition of the 1940 issued Pamphlet 21, with the wording “Amendment 1 embodied in this reprint" printed on the front cover below the date. On the bottom of the front cover is printed "Reprinted at Victoria Railway Printing Works North Melbourne", and the date of printing was 1941.
Australian 1940 SAT 21.JPG 45.56K 6 downloads
The Australian edition also has a much larger distribution list located on both the front and rear inside cover and also part of the outside rear cover, much larger than the British distribution,which maybe indicated the first larger orders from the USA had been fulfilled.:
Added on the 17.02.18 with photos
I have just received my copy of the Australian 1940 edition of Pamphlet 1941 and unlike the Canadian version, does not mirror the British version, it has 16 pages more than the British version, including pages with photographs.
On the bottom right of the front cover of the Australian edition it is printed ‘5321-41’, and has ‘Amendment No.1’ dated 20th June 1941, as shown above, embodied in the reprint, that would indicate it was printed during the 2nd half of 1941.
Aussie 1940 ammend V1.JPG 29.41K 1 downloads
The first six pages of the Australian SAT 21 are the same as the amemended pages in the British edition. Page 7 has the addition of Appendix ‘A’, Description of the Gun and Components; on page 13 has Appendix ‘B’, Action of Mechanism and on page 16 is Appendix ‘C’, Directions for detail stripping and assembling.
In appendix ‘C’, although there is no mention of the use of a tool for removing the recoil spring, on page 19 where it states; “compress as much as possible of the recoil spring on the buffer rod and insert the point of a pin punch through the underside of the hole in the end of the buffer rod to retain compression”.
P19 enlarged.JPG 49.08K 7 downloads
So it appears that that the Australians were not using Recoil Spring tools at the time
The photographs in the Australian version are different for the British editions with three pages showing the detailed components, (parts), of the Model of 1928 and the demonstrator of the weapon is also wearing an Australian military uniform.
In 1943, the Australians issued a pamphlet 15 titled “Sub-machine guns”, which combined the Austen, Owen and Thompson Model of 1928. Interestingly enough, although the British 1942 edition of Pamphlet 21, did not mention the ‘L’ drum, the Australian pamphlet 15 still includes reference to the ‘L’ Drum in it.
Australian SAT 15.JPG 46.18K 2 downloads
As I have found British, Canadian and Australian editions of the Small arms training pamphlet 21, I presumed other Commonwealth countries would have their own versions, but up until I was writing this post, I had been unable to find any photos or reference to any pamphlets produced by New Zealand or South Africa. David Albert did tell me in reply to a question I asked, and I quote “I have never seen a South African version, but there are NZ versions...1942 and 1944, if I recall correctly”. He added they were featured in a TCA newsletter, probably about 8 years ago.”
So in the interests of my research, perhaps someone could be so kind to assist me with a scanned copy of the TCA newsletter that featured the NZ versions of Pamphlet 21, I would be grateful.
In a search on the forum, while writing this post, I did discover an old post from 2006 concerning David’s book, “Thompson Manuals, Catalogs, and Other Paper Items”. In a reply from Forum member Murray from New Zealand, there is picture of a New Zealand 1942 version of the “Thompson Machine Carbine” Pamphlet, so I have discovered evidence of its existence. The NZ 1942 Pamphlet 21 has printed on its cover: “This Pamphlet supersedes the 1940 edition”, so I guess the earlier edition also exists.
Added on the 16.02.18: David Albert answered my request above and forwarded me a couple of photos of the NZ SAT 21's to add to the post, see below:
Finally, as shown in David Alberts book, mentioned above, India also produced a copy of the 1942 version of Pamphlet 21, with drawings of a Gurkha soldier, replacing the tommy in the British and Canadian versions.
Added on the 27.05.18 with photos
Another item I discovered recently is SAT Vol 1 Pamphlet No. 11 (India) 'Close Quarter Battle' dated 1945. On the inside front cover it states: "This pamphlet supersedes the following: SAT 11 Pistol 1942, SAT 21 Thompson Machine Carbine 1944 and SAT 22 Sten Machine Carbine 1944".
So this 1945 dated SAT covers all three weapons, something else I did not know existed and now I've finally own an Indian Army SAT with a nice line drawing of what appears to be a Gurkha. On page 68 of this pamphlet, it has two line drawings, one of the Model of 1928 (A1) and the second Model M1. However, they refer to the Thompsons in the line drawings, as the old and new models, not by their Models.
SAT11 1945 (India) Page 88 1.JPG 61.18K 4 downloads
Although not a commonwealth country, there was also an Italian version of the manual produced in 1944. I have never seen a copy of the Italian manual, there is a reference to it in David Alberts 2005 post:
And it is also in 'Roland the Thompsongunners' 2017 post:
From the images of the Italian Thompson gun manuals in the posts, they appear to be exact copies of those in the 1942 British Pamphlet 21 dated 19, indicating it is a translated copy of that pamphlet. The photos in David’s reply to the above post also indicate this was the case.
In the photos in the post, on the cover we see a reference to pamphlet 21 in the top right hand corner “Fascicola 21” translates to ‘Manual 21’ and the cover title is printed:
Addestramento Armi Portatili
Moschetto Automatico Thompson
Which translates as:
Small Arms Training
Thompson Machine Carbine
So there is reference, not only to ‘Pamphlet 21’ and ‘Volume 1’ but also 1942, and two of the three Italian Thompson gun manuals shown in Toms post, also have the word ‘ristampo’ printed under ‘1942’, which translates to ‘reprint’. Two of the Italian manuals are dated 1945 and one 1944 and all three copies have ‘Traduzione dall inglese’, printed on their covers, which is easy to work out, translates to ‘translation from English’.
Mind you, Roland states it has 22 pages and the 1942 British pamphlet only has 11 pages.
Added on the 16.02.18: David Albert was good enough to let me have some photos of the Italian Thompson manual to add to this post, and also informed me, he is aware of four versions of the Italian 'Moschetto Automatico Thompson' manual and a fifth variation which features both the Thompson and the Bren Gun, see below:
Italian handbook 2.jpg 106.13K 7 downloads Italian Pam 21.JPG 34.85K 4 downloads Page 4 Italian Manual.jpg 165.14K 4 downloads Page 6 Italian Manual.jpg 132.44K 3 downloads Page 11 Italian Manual.jpg 125.94K 3 downloads Page 22 Italian Manual.jpg 144.97K 2 downloads
And the front cover of the Italian Manual covering both the Thompson and the Bren:
Italian_TSMG_Bren.jpg 62.17K 3 downloads
I have an Italian colleague attempting to locate copies of the Italian versions for my collection, but I am still looking for a copy of the 1940 edition of the Canadian SAT pamphlet 21, all editions of the Indian and New Zealand SAT pamphlet 21s, so the quest continues.
Edited by rpbcps, 01 February 2019 - 12:25 PM.